Thu. News (03/24): WWE Brand Extension Rumors, Cena/Orton Return Updates, Jericho vs. Nakamura In Japan & More!

This is just a rumor at this point, so please take it as such. It’s possible that WWE could bring back the brand extension that would split the roster into two again with some of the performers on Raw and some of them on Smackdown similar to what was done from 2002 to 2011 or whenever they stopped giving a damn about it. It sure went out with a whimper didn’t it?

Anyway, it was reported by Dave Meltzer in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter (available via subscription at wrestlingobserver.com) WWE marketing department recently produced new USA Network graphics for RAW and SmackDown.

The Raw graphic features John Cena, Kevin Owens, Bray Wyatt, Alberto Del Rio, Charlotte and Nikki Bella as the top stars. The Smackdown promo features Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, The New Day, Dolph Ziggler and Paige as the top stars.

Does it mean there’s a brand extension (or “roster split” as I like to call it) happening? I don’t know. Meltzer isn’t sure either, but the way interesting wrestling fans are, I’m sure there will be some sites going their own way with it by saying that it’s happening. Be careful what you read and who you read. For now, nobody knows.

In terms of timing and storyline, it does make sense. When Shane McMahon returned to WWE a month ago, he said in his first promo that he wanted to run Monday Night Raw. He did not say he wanted control of the whole company, he just said Raw. If they were to have Shane beat The Undertaker then that means Shane gets Raw. What about Smackdown? Well, that hasn’t even been mentioned. That’s why it makes sense to do a brand extension where they can keep Triple H/Stephanie running Smackdown against Shane. Plus if they did that, there would be more of a Raw vs. Smackdown feel to it like there was in the 2002/2003 days of the brand extension where the shows were against eachother.

Obviously there are also questions about the titles as well. Would they be exclusive to a brand? Would they bring back the second World Title again? I would hope not regarding the second title, but it may happen.

Since the WWE roster is so big right now (over 100 male and female talents signed counting NXT), there is reason to believe that this is possible. It’s a way to not only use the current main roster stars while also calling up some NXT talent that’s ready to go right now.

I’m in favor of a brand extension they need to change things up in WWE. If they were to do a brand extension, it would help Smackdown a lot because right now the blue brand is clearly the B show. While it would still likely be a taped show, at least there would be more of a reason to watch it if you were a fan of certain members of the roster.

Remember, it’s just a rumor. I’m sure it’s going to take on a life on its own because that’s how rumors in wrestling are. For now, it could be something…or it could be nothing at all. We’ll see.

 

Update On The Returns Of John Cena And Randy Orton

Here’s an update on some big names recovering from shoulder surgeries via the Wrestling Observer.

*John Cena’s not going to be ready for WrestleMania as he said. Dave Meltzer reported that Cena’s return is expected to be around July. He had surgery in early January so that means it would take nearly the full six months in the 4-6 month recovery time that was needed. Keep in mind that it’s Cena and it wouldn’t surprise anybody if he was back in late April, May or June either. I listen to Steve Austin’s show a lot and he has said numerous times that Cena shouldn’t rush back because at 38 years of age it’s harder to come back from these things. That makes sense.

*As for Randy Orton, he had shoulder surgery in late 2015 and may be back in action at the end of April. Here’s a tweet from a radio station in the Washington, DC area.

To be honest, I don’t know about the reliability of this source, but it would fit in the timeline since there’s a 4-6 month recovery from that surgery he had.

*As we’ve reported previously, Cesaro’s back in action on the European tour in mid-April.

 

Chris Jericho Vs. Shinsuke Nakamura Likely For  Japan in July

Chris Jericho has been ripping on Shinsuke Nakamura on Twitter. Keep in mind that when Jericho tweets – especially as a heel – he usually does it in character. He insults the fans and the other wrestlers. When he’s a face, he almost never does that. So why is he doing it? According to the Wrestling Observer, it’s because they are planning on doing a Jericho/Nakamura match when WWE heads there in July. Last July it was a WWE Network special. Perhaps it will be again. Here are some Jericho tweets.

I’m hoping that it’s on WWE Network. It would be outstanding to see.

 

Happy Birthday To The Undertaker!

*Happy birthday to The Undertaker today. He is 51 years old. Not a lot of guys wrestle into their 50s, but he is and I don’t think he was that bad in his last matches last year, so he might as well keep going as long as he remains a big attraction. His friends at Onnit presented him with this cake.

They called it a Hell in a Cell cake, but it’s actually a steel cage since there’s no roof on it. It’s the thought that counts. I love his facial expression there.

 

Check Out These WWE Videos

Here’s Kevin Owens in the WWE sitdown interview with Michael Cole. He’s always great in these interviews.

Kevin Owens on why "sadness and heartbreak" await at #KOMania: March 23, 2016

WWE superstars make their choice between Superman and Batman as their favorite. I’ve always been a big Batman fan.

WWE Superstars choose: Batman or Superman?

Remember that awesome segment on Raw in 1999 when Steve Austin soaked The Corporation in a beer bath? I sure do. It happened 17 years ago this week. Here’s a video all about it.

Stone Cold gives The Corporation a beer bath: This Week in WWE History, March 24, 2016

 

Read Our Stuff

Here’s Mike Holland with a look at the Dudleys vs. Usos match at WrestleMania.

Kurt’s our NXT review guy and here’s here with this week’s show, which wasn’t as strong as the usual NXT show, but still some things worth checking out like that awesome American Alpha video.

Also, please vote in our poll about who wins The Undertaker’s match with Shane McMahon match at WrestleMania. Right now, Shane is in the lead.


That’s all for now. I’ll post our TJRWrestling podcast for this week this afternoon and we’ll probably get some other news stories here as well as reviews and columns like usual. Wayne will be here with tomorrow’s news update and I’ll have a Smackdown review up likely on Friday at some point. Enjoy the long weekend if you get days off for it!